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The Price Adjustment Mechanism with Flexible and Fixed Exchange Rates

Chapter 16

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Key Terms
Dutch disease Stable/unstable foreign exchange market Elasticity pessimism Marshall Lerner condition J-curve effect Price specie flow mechanism

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1 Introduction
Examines how the nation's current account is affected by exchange rate changes. Examines the effect of exchange rate changes on domestic prices in the country. Deals with the closely related topic of the stability of foreign exchange markets. Presents estimates of trade elasticities and explains why the current account usually responds with a time lag and only partially to a change in the nation's exchange rate. Describes the adjustment mechanism under the gold standard.

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2 Adjustments with Exchange Rate Changes

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3 Derivation of D Curve for Foreign Exchange

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4 Derivation of S Curve for Foreign Exchange

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5 Effect of Exchange Rate Changes on Domestic Prices


The greater the devaluation or depreciation of the dollar, the greater is its inflationary impact on the U.S. economy and the less feasible is the increase of the exchange rate as a method of correcting the deficit in the U.S. balance of payments. Note that the increase in the dollar price of import substitutes and exports in the United States is a necessary incentive to U.S. producers to shift resources from the production of nontraded or purely domestic goods to the production of import substitutes and exports. But this also reduces the price advantage conferred on the United States by the devaluation or depreciation of the dollar. This is even more so for developing countries.
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6 Stable and Unstable Foreign Exchange Markets


A foreign exchange market is stable when the supply curve of foreign exchange is positively sloped or, if negatively sloped, is less elastic (steeper) than the demand curve of foreign exchange. A foreign exchange market is unstable if the supply curve is negatively sloped and more elastic (flatter) than the demand curve of foreign exchange.

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6 Stable and Unstable Foreign Exchange Markets

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7 Marshall-Lerner Condition
The condition that tells us whether the foreign exchange market is stable or unstable is the MarshallLerner condition. The condition is valid when the supply curves of imports and exports (i.e., SM and Sx) are both infinitely elastic, or horizontal. Then the Marshall-Lerner condition indicates a stable foreign exchange market if the sum of the price elasticities of the demand for imports (DM) and the demand for exports (Dx), in absolute terms, is greater than 1. If the sum of the price elasticities of DM and Dx is less than l, the foreign exchange market is unstable, and if the sum of these two demand elasticities is equal to 1, a change in the exchange rate will leave the balance of payments unchanged.

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8 Elasticity Estimates
The Marshall-Lerner condition postulates a stable foreign exchange market if the sum of the price elasticities of the demand for imports and the demand for exports exceeds 1 in absolute value. However, the sum of these two elasticities will have to be substantially greater than 1 for the nation's demand and supply curves of foreign exchange to be suffciently elastic to make a depreciation or devaluation feasible as a method of correcting a deficit in the nation's balance of payments. Thus, it is very important to determine the real-world value of the price elasticity of the demand for imports and exports.
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8 Elasticity Estimates

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9 The J-Curve Effect


Not only are short-run elasticities in international trade likely to be much smaller than long-run elasticities, but a nation's trade balance may actually worsen soon after a devaluation or depreciation, before improving later on. Over time, the quantity of exports rises and the quantity of imports falls, and export prices catch up with import prices, so that the initial deterioration in the nation's trade balance is halted and then reversed. This tendency of a nation's trade balance to first deteriorate before improving as a result of a devaluation or depreciation in the nation's currency is the J-curve effect. The reason is that when the nation's net trade balance is plotted on the vertical axis and time is plotted on the horizontal axis, the response of the trade balance to a devaluation or depreciation looks like the curve of a J.
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9 The J-Curve Effect

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10 The Price-Specie-Flow Mechanism


The automatic adjustment mechanism under the gold standard is the price-specie-flow mechanism. This operates as follows to correct balance-of-payments disequilibria. Since each nation's money supply under the gold standard consisted of either gold itself or paper currency backed by gold, the money supply would fall in the deficit nation and rise in the surplus nation. This caused internal prices to fall in the deficit nation and rise in the surplus nation. As a result, the exports of the deficit nation would be encouraged and its imports would be discouraged until the deficit in its balance of payments was eliminated.
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11 Questions for Discussion


How does a depreciation or devaluation of a nations currency operate to eliminate or reduce a deficit in its current account or balance of payment? Why is a depreciation or devaluation of the nations currency not feasible to eliminate a deficit if the nations demand and supply curves of foreign exchange are inelastic? How are the nations demand and supply curves of foreign exchange derived? What determine their elasticity? What is the Marshall Lerner condition? What is the J-curve effect?

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Thank You!

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